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June 10, 2014 | Nonfiction

Merry Christmas, Cheryl Ann

Nathan Elias

Merry Christmas, Cheryl Ann photo

The next three and a half or four minutes will be used to draw conclusions on the relevance and authenticity of Christmas based on self reflexivity by using photographs of Cheryl Ann during the days leading up to Christmas. 

I will attempt to answer the question, or at least deconstruct the question, “What was Cheryl Ann’s fascination with Christmas, and what impact did it have on my life?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 25, 1990. I am introduced to the bottomless Mickey Mouse train conductor toy box. Judging by Cheryl Ann’s gaze, this is a moment of temporary contentment. A mother watching her only son open presents on Christmas morning for the second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometime during the winter of 1993. Cheryl Ann is standing next to her third husband on the day of their wedding. The man in the photograph is not my father, and Cheryl Ann will leave him for another man in two years. Temporary contentment.

The purpose of this photograph is to contend the authenticity of Christmas based on a fractured identity at the hands of an unsettled lover, or unsettled mother.

To illustrate Cheryl Ann’s adoration for Christmas, or the function of Christmas, I will discuss the ritual act of raising and decorating the Christmas tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 14 years Cheryl Ann was married or engaged to four different suitors and intentionally moved to a new home at least once every two or three years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During this time, she retained the same collection of Christmas decorations and displayed them annually.

Cheryl Ann’s attachment to Christmas and, particularly, Christmas decorations, raises the question, “What is the significance of the iconography of Christmas to an individual’s attachment to Christmas?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This question is a detour from the original question, “What was my mother’s fascination with Christmas, and what impact did it have on my life,” however it is necessary to answer the second question in order to answer the first question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If one were to have asked Cheryl Ann the questions, “What is the significance of the star? What is the significance of the color red? The fir tree? The bell? The Candle? The Gift Bow? The Candy Cane? The Wreath?” She would not have delivered an answer associated with the shepherd, she would have answered, “Its what my mother used to do. She loved Christmas.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to the second question, this photograph represents the contentment of familial tradition, which is not necessarily temporary contentment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the photograph, Cheryl Ann is sitting with her mother, nephew, brothers, and son. Based on her gaze it appears that Cheryl Ann is discussing with her mother either Christmas, or family, but regardless of verbal communication the photograph testifies to the unquestioned participation in familial tradition and the elementary enlightenment associated with familial tradition.

Elementary Enlightenment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temporary contentment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elementary enlightenment vs. temporary contentment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to the first question, it is transparent that Cheryl Ann’s fascination with Christmas manifested from mere joy in the unconditional participation of familial tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to the second part of the first question, the impact of Cheryl Ann’s fascination with Christmas on my life was subconscious until writing the film “Il y avait un anee aujourd’hui a Cozumel” for the winter ball film festival at the Toledo museum of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While trying to write a film with a winter theme, I did not immediately recognize my own fascination with Christmas and Christmas decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon filming the film, I was asked the question, “What is the significance of the Christmas tree?” The only way I knew how to respond was, “It is what my mother used to do. She loved Christmas.”

 

image: Nathan Elias


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